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Community Scientists Monitoring for Red Tide (CSMRT)

Pictures of community scientists on a map of Florida

The FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) established a community science program in 2000 to assist the researchers who study Karenia brevis, the organism that causes Florida’s red tide. Currently known as Community Scientists Monitoring for Red Tide (CSMRT), our “community scientists” expand the spatial coverage of FWRI's harmful algal bloom (HAB) monitoring program by collecting water samples from routine collection points and sites reported for suspected blooms.

This program relies on community scientists such as charter boat captains, commercial fishers, divers, and others to provide additional sampling coverage in space and time. Individuals or groups of people throughout Florida collect water samples from coastal and offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

Timely sampling by community scientists allows researchers to provide an early warning of algal blooms and investigate reported events as they occur. At FWRI, researchers examine the samples under a microscope to identify and count HAB organisms. They release K. brevis findings to the public in a daily sampling map and record all data in a database that is further applied in monitoring and research efforts.

Current Community Scientists

We thank all of our community scientists for their participation, which is vital to the success of Florida’s HAB monitoring and research. In appreciation of this commitment and dedication, FWRI honors a Community Scientist of the Month.

Active community scientists may access the Community Scientist Information Center with a login name and password. The center provides online access to sampling records, news items, and more to keep you informed and involved in the program.

New participants

The CSMRT program needs individuals to collect water samples from all coastal Florida counties, especially the counties highlighted on the map below. For more information, visit Community Scientist Opportunities.

Map of Florida showing counties that most need volunteers

Community scientists must be able to collect water samples at least once a month from piers, bridges, or docks alongshore or from locations at least 1 mile offshore. They may be asked to respond to reports of algal blooms and collect water samples for analysis. FWRI pays for sampling supplies and shipping costs.

Please complete the Community Scientist Monitoring for Red Tide form, for more information.

If you would like to know more about Florida's red tide and other HABs, visit Red Tide FAQ or other Red Tide articles.